OLA or Bazaar
I am travelling to Miami and the Keys for a week in November and would like to do one higher priced meal. At the moment I am considering OLA and Bazaar.
Based solely on menu, I would probably go for OLA because coming from Europe I have access to lots of Spanish food but limited South American (save a few peruvian places and argentinean steakhouses); however Bazaar seems to be more highly thought of.
Which would you recommend for a British visitor?
Also, for other meals I am considering Oak Tavern (lunch), Joe's Stone Crab (lunch), Unami Burger (dinner) and Pubbelly Sushi (dinner). Anything I am especially missing out on?
Bazaar by a long shot. The best thing at Ola is their ceviches. You can go to My Ceviche and get all the ceviche you want for much less (the sobe location is a takeout place though but you can go to the beach or the hostel next door and sit, brickell location of My Ceviche is a sitdown place if you want to go off the beach...).
I think you should do something like Lucali (pizza) over Unami Burger. If you want to eat in that area for some weird reason, go to macchialina instead. I reccomend non pizza dishes at macchialina. Pizza there is still good though, it is just the rest of the menu is really great.
Michael's Genuine over Oak Tavern
I enjoy Pubbelly Sushi but would go to the original Pubbelly or PB Steak over it.
Can't comment on the main "vs" pair up (OLA or Bazaar), but on the others, you have a pretty good list. Specifically:
Yes to Joe's (unique to Miami);
I would try Unami burger for an upscale take on an American standard, but also consider Shake Shack for a more "comfort-food" version that is at the top of a lot of "best" lists (while at the same time not prohibitively expensive);
The 2nd "standard" is NY-style Pizza, and for that I would second the Lucali recommendation (also a lunch option on some days - check ahead as it fluctuates).
Like tpigeon, I would recommend "original" pubbelly (or pubbelly steak - also a lunch option) to pubbelly sushi;
Michael's Genuine vs. Oak Tavern? Genuine is ok, but for me not worth the drive to the design district (which I assume is not an area you would be staying at as a tourist). Another lunch option closer to the beach is The Dutch (might be slightly more pricey, but save you a drive/cab).
I'd recommend you look into both Yardbird (excellent lunch option too) and Blue Collar - if I was from Europe those are the kinds of places I would really want to check out to sample American fare, particularly southern cuisine.
Hope you post your experiences after the fact - would like your perspective given where you come from.
re: non sequitur
Unami and Shake Shack are both chains that are fairly widespread at this point. I would not go to miami to target either of these.
PB Steak is a taco place for lunch (which is very good btw, but you can't get their normal menu then) monday-friday 12-3pm
Lucali opens 1pm friday - sunday. It is no longer random.
Both Michael's Genuine and Oak Tavern are in the design district and going to the design district depends on where they are staying (they could be staying downtown, for example) and if they have a car.
I assumed they chose Oak Tavern because they wanted to go to a DD spot so I gave them what I thought was a better option.
I also don't understand how you can comment on Michael's being in an inconvenient location, then recommend blue collar (which is a good place btw but even further from the beach than Michael's if you are staying in south beach).
I think Yardbird is good but not amazing. I would do the Dutch instead if you want to sample american cuisine.
Three other evening options with lovely atmospheres are Cecconi's at Soho Beach House, Juvia on Lincoln Road (beautiful view) and Mandolin's Aegean Bistro (Design District). I think Oak Tavern is great and although Yardbird is good, it is very heavy food. Blue Collar is fine, but I wouldn't make a trip there if you're visiting Miami, food is ok. If you plan on doing some high end shopping or just want to walk around a beautiful mall, head to Bal Harbor and have lunch at Makoto. Umami and Shake Shack are fast food burger places no matter which way you look at it. We also love eating at Sugarcane in midtown (next to the design district), they have something for everyone and very much a locals scene.
If you plan on driving to the keys, stop in Islamorada and eat at Morada Bay and breakfast at Green Turtle Inn.
Definitely Bazaar over Ola. If you're interested in South American food I'd suggest as soon do some of your lunches at places that offer less "updated" versions of it - Chalan on the Beach for Peruvian, Enriquetas (or Puerto Sagua or Sazon) for Cuban.
I always enjoy Joe's for lunch. I like Oak Tavern too but yes, Michael's Genuine is usually better if you're picking between the two.
I've only been to Umami Burger once and it was OK, but I don't think I'd recommend it for a short list for a foreign visitor. If you want a really good burger - in a beautiful spot - have lunch at Cypress Room, a sibling to Michael's Genuine.
I've done Bazaar twice, sampling 12 items from the menu, and have been somewhat unimpressed. Not a single dish was truly exceptional or even Michelin quality.
I can't comment on South American in Miami being new to the dining scene, but if OLA is the best I'd imagine it has to be at least as good as the food I had at Bazaar both times
For an expensive meal I would eat at Michael's Genuine, Palm D'or,
or Zuma in a heartbeat before Bazaar. Don't miss the wings at Michael's.
I wouldn't miss Myung Ga Tofu in Weston for anything. Screw Unami man.
So you are saying go to Ola over Bazaar, even though you have not been to Ola to compare? I have been to both more than once...
I would be interested to hear what dishes you had at Bazaar.
Forgetting for a moment that the first location of Zuma is in London, Bazaar is just better. I also prefer it to Michaels Genuine (which I like but not as much as the rest of the board does).
I have not been to Palm D'or but would not recommend it to a British visitor who can take a train from London to Paris. Bazaar, while spanish, has a lot of non spanish and fusion type dishes and you can make a great meal without going to the traditional side of the menu (though I would get the rossejat no matter what).
I can't recommend OLA. What I'm saying is that I would be shocked if the best South American food in Miami is not better than almost everything I ate at Bazaar.
Not one dish, to be fair except maybe the kueh pai ti and the cheese, would deserve a single Michelin Star. For me, for this amount of money, this is unacceptable.
I've been to Zuma 6 times and though I am sure I am selecting the better options on the menu, nearly every dish I've ordered there has been better than any dish Bazaar served me. Consistent 8-9/10 over and over. Zuma is in London though so yeah, and a UK man can get great French. This is why I recommended Michael's Genuine for an American take.
My last trip to Bazaar, just last night, included absolutely miserable service, really incredibly bad.
Everything I've had:
Kueh pai ti 8/10 really great
Gazpacho 7.5 excellent
Mango sea urchin eel nigiri 5
King crab canned w rasberry 4
Jamon Iberico platter w olive oil tomato bread 6pc 7
Tomato bread was lame
Jamon delicious (8/10)
King crab was a laughably bad dish for such a great ingredient. I saw them add driscolls rasberries to this. Unripe and tart as driscolls usually is. The sauce overkilled the crab which wasn't particularly moist or flavorful. This didn't work.
Dragon fruit ceviche 4/10
Skirt steak 6.5/10
Chicken leg 3-sent back, dry
Iberico loin 6.5/10
Valdeon cheese w raisens 8.5/10 great
Quinoa was made with 20 vegetables and was excellent but if certain ingredients were more prevalent it could have been much better and more consistent.
7/10 is very good by my standards and a somewhat rare thing. I'm not panning the restaurant. I'm saying after trying the food I don't get the hype and there are better options. I will likely go back one last time eventually to see if I got unlucky the first couple times. I essentially put myself in my servers hands both times.
One of the better restaurants in Miami but severely underperforming for it's price point. Palm D'or is much much better.